Ex-Ohio hospital worker sues over flu requirement

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 17, 2013 at 11:51 am •  Published: January 17, 2013
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Chenzira did not immediately return a call Thursday seeking comment, but has told The Cincinnati Enquirer that being vegan guides her entire life.

"When they force you, I don't think that's fair," she said. "I just feel they should be more open to people's religious beliefs."

Droder declined to comment, citing the pending litigation, except to say that "the hospital did the right thing here."

With an earlier-than-usual flu season that has been worse than recent mild seasons, more and more hospitals have begun requiring their staffs to get the flu shot and cracking down on those who don't.

At least 20 children have died from the flu so far this year, including one in Ohio.

In the past two months, at least 15 nurses and other hospital workers in four states have been fired for refusing to get a flu shot, and several others have resigned, according to affected workers, hospital authorities and published reports.

That figure includes seven employees at IU Health Goshen Hospital in northern Indiana and a longtime critical care nurse in suburban Chicago, some of whom said they resented being required to get the shot and had rights of their own. Others refuse because of egg allergies or other medical reasons.

Some hospitals argue that health care workers have an ethical obligation to get the shot to help protect themselves, and therefore their patients, from getting the flu, although most allow for some exemptions.

The most recent federal data available shows that as of November, about 63 percent of U.S. health care workers got flu shots. That's an increase from previous years, but the government wants that figure to be at 90 percent by 2020.

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Follow Amanda Lee Myers on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaLeeAP